Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

May 22, 2008

Third Police Officer Sentenced in Kathryn Johnston Case

by Stephen Littau

(WSB Radio) A Fulton county judge came down hard on Atlanta police officer Arthur Tesler, giving him near the maximum for his role in the killing of Kathryn Johnston.

Judge Michael Johnson sentenced Tesler to 4 1/2 years in prison for lying to investigators. Tesler was part of the cover up of the botched drug raid at Johnston’s Neal Street home in November 2006.
The judge also sentenced Tesler to six months probation and ordered him to serve 450 hours of community service.

Atlanta police used a “no knock” warrant to raid the home of Johnston two days before Thanksgiving in 2006. During the raid the 92 year old woman was shot and killed by police.
Two other officers who were involved in the raid pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges and are serving time in prison.

Tesler, 42, was convicted Tuesday of making false statements.

One of the morals of this very tragic story is that just because a person has sworn an oath to “serve and protect” does not mean he or she will serve and protect the citizens of the community. All too often, the people who individuals like Officer Tesler serve and protect their fellow officers when they do wrong (in this case by lying to investigators and planting evidence)

Please understand that I’m not trying to paint all law enforcement officers with a broad brush. Most truly do serve the community honorably. I’m only trying to expose this fallacy that if a case is determined based on the sworn testimony of a suspect vs. the sworn testimony of a police officer that jurors ought to give the police officer’s testimony more weight. Jurors should always base their decisions on who they believe to be telling the truth as individuals as opposed their chosen professions*.

*Jurors should also remember that it’s the state’s burden to prove that the defendant committed the crime not for the defendant’s attorney to prove his or her innocence.

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